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On Other People's Religions

Religion is my favorite topic to squeeze in at family dinners, after politics and the gay agenda. I come from a relatively religious background, although that seems like a lie. It was true when I was younger and donned a Catholic School girl uniform (could you imagine?) and went to church every Sunday. But then things changed, as things tend to do over time. I think my father still goes to church when he can, but I only step foot into a church when I'm traveling and want to get some nice architecture in. When I was younger, I solidified myself as the most curious and, subsequently, the most hated pupil in my class. I just didn't understand organized religion. The other day, I was telling the girl I'm dating that when my mother used to take me to church when my parents were still married, she used to have to coax me into going by promising that she would "think about" letting me rent Scooby Doo from Blockbuster afterwards. (Has Blockbuster closed down because parents were no longer able to use is as leverage? An idea for another day).

In religion class, I used to sit in the front row and would toss out question after question at my teacher who, upon reflection, probably had to go to confession once a week with the thoughts she had about me.

"You mean we're all sinners because of an apple?"

"Why is it a fairy tale if snakes talk anywhere other than in the Bible?"

"You mean nuns are married to Jesus? All of them? But God's angry at my divorced parents?"

"He turned water into wine and they killed him? Do you know how well he would do in Greenpoint on the water this time of year?"

Okay, I didn't ask that last one when I twelve, but it's a relevant question for me now. Since then, my views on organized religion have only solidified. I simply can't get behind it, but I understand the appeal for people who can, and am in no way diminishing people's right to choose who or what they worship or follow. What's been most interesting to me, though, is seeing how the concept of religion itself has morphed over the years. Religion used to strictly be what you could read in the Bible, Quran, Torah, or the like, and what you could worship between four walls. But now we're in the middle of this new-age where religion is entirely subjective and what you make of it. As people, we need something to follow, but so many of us can't get behind the same God we were taught to worship because of generations before us who were taught the same without the proper tools to question it.

I've heard people say that their family is their religion, books are their religion, hula hooping is their religion (right), or that yoga, crystals, and the Universe are their religion. My mother falls in the latter. She charges her crystal in a full moon, meditates every morning, does yoga, and cites the Universe in sentences where "God" may be in other's. It works for her the same way going to church every morning and listening to the gospel works for other people, and I think it's beautiful that she has a commanding force.

My religion has become other people, who they are to me, who they make me, who they make me want to be. I think the point of religion and God, in general, is to remind us to be better people (an interesting idea amongst Evangelicals or sexual assault allegations), and all the people I have met in my life have taught me things that have made me a better person. Maybe my religion will change in the next decade or so, but right now, I think it works for me.

What's your religion?